Visa's exclusive Olympics 'cashless' deal turns sour as system fails

August 1, 2012

Olympic organisers and their corporate sponsor Visa were still keeping mum on August 1 after yet another ironic twist to their “cashless Olympics”.

Hungry spectators at Wembley to see Team GB women's victory over Brazil took to social networks on the night of July 31 to complain of a second breakdown in three days of payment systems at food counters “proud to only accept Visa” under the company's exclusive sponsorship deal.

US network CNN's business correspondent Jim Boulden tweeted that “Visa payment machines still not working at Wembley Stadium in food queue. Did work for merchandise though. Not Visa's fault.”

But ordinary spectators voiced frustration.

“Still an absolute shitstorm,” @TheAmazingGem wrote. “How am I supposed to watch football without a pie and pint?”

Photographer Andrew Perring posted a picture of the disgruntled crowd, reporting “frustration as Visa machines fail again at cash-only Wembley - GB vs Brazil game”.

The hiccup follows a major breakdown during matches on July 29, when Visa's promise of a “cashless Olympics” to pioneer its contact-less payment system turned sour after thousands of punters were told to pay in cash but found ATMs switched off by officials complying with the firm's sponsorship terms.

The Morning Star reported on July 31 that stadium technicians had said the Visa-only stipulation was behind the failure.

[Abridged from Morning Star.]

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